Located in the North-western part of Nairobi the capital city of Kenya. It is a birding spot for birders with over 400 bird species that can be seen in their natural habitats. Birding in Lake Nakuru National park is mostly done around the shores of Lake Nakuru where people either stand along the shores of the lake or remain in their cars as they observe the different bird species that are found in the National Park. Other places where you can easily view the birds from including the baboon cliff which is the highest view of the National park.
The National Park can easily be accessed by either use of road or air transport. Road transport which takes about 3 to 4 hours from Nairobi is more scenic with many things that you get to see while on your drive and the well-developed road transport system to and within the national makes the drive to the park easy and enjoyable. Air transport is fast and easy making although a bit expensive and you can charter a flight from Nairobi to the Niashi airstrip where a tour vehicle will be waiting for you to take you around the National park and to your lodge.
Packing for a birding safari to Lake Nakuru national park
When packing for an African safari, it becomes exceptionally hard especially if you do not know what to expect especially with the ever-changing weather experienced in Lake Nakuru National Park. Birding in Nakuru is best done immediately after the rainy season and a few of the things that you should pack for you to enjoy your birding safari to Lake Nakuru National Park.
Binoculars: These are a must for every birder because some birds fly way up in the sky, others easily blend in with the wild whereas others are always far off or shy away when they notice that they are being watched and the binoculars will help see all the bird species with ease.
Cameras: a good camera will help you keep your safari memories by keeping everything fresh and alive in still photos. Not everyone is a professional photographer but even if you are not you can still get good photos of the numerous birds especially those that you are not familiar with. You need to also pack extra memory cards, batteries and a waterproof bag to keep your camera safe.
A guidebook: this is another item that you should pack on your birding expedition because it contains all the bird species that are found in the national park. It will help you in recognizing the different bird species and can be purchased either at a local store or downloaded so that you can actively participate in the recognition of the birds.
Clothing: birding sometimes requires you to take a walk in the designated areas and you will need to put on long-sleeved shirts and long pants that are both in neutral colors to easily blend with the wilderness and also keep the bug bites off.
The birds of Lake Nakuru national park
The national park is home to hundreds of birds some of which are migratory birds, endemic birds and near-endemic birds. Some of the bird species that you are likely to see while on a safari to Lake Nakuru are the Eastern imperial eagle, black-tailed godwit, grey-headed woodpecker, Abyssinian thrush, Black-winged Lapwing, Arrow marked babblers, great snipe, Northern vulture, slender-billed Greenbuls, Rupell’s robin-chat, lesser flamingos, greater flamingos, sooty falcon, brimstone canary, red-capped lark, Grey-crested helmet-shrike, Kenya Rufous sparrow, eastern imperial eagle, Bateleur, white-headed vulture, shining sunbird, Northern puff back, Montane white-eye and the Lesser kestrel among others.
The ibis species and spoonbills in Lake Nakuru National Park include the African spoonbill, Glossy Ibis, Hadada ibis and the African Sacred ibis.
The hawks, kites and eagles found in Lake Nakuru National park include the African fish eagle, Grasshopper Buzzard, Tawny eagle, Pallid harrier, Black winged kite, Black-chested snake eagle, Imperial eagle, Dark chanting Goshawk, greater spotted eagle, steppe eagle, Augur Buzzard, booted eagle, brown snake eagle, Wahlberg’s eagle, lappet-faced vulture, long-crested eagle, Imperial eagle, Eurasian marsh harrier, crowned eagle, European Honey-buzzard, white-headed vulture and lesser spotted eagle among others.
Bitterns, Herons and Egrets include the striated heron, grey Heron, cattle egret, little egret, black-headed heron, intermediate egret, Squacco heron, western reef-Heron, Goliath heron, Great Egret and purple heron among others.
The sunbird species include the Golden-winged Sunbird, Green-headed Sunbird, variable sunbird, Bronze Sunbird, Northern Double-collared Sunbird, Amethyst Sunbird and the violet-backed sunbird.
Flycatchers in Nakuru include the Rueppell’s robin-chat, little Rock thrush, African Gray flycatcher, white-browed Robin-chat, northern Anteater chat, Isabelline wheatear, common Nightingale, Thrush nightingale, red-backed scrub Robin, white-eyed slaty flycatcher, common Redstart, Mocking cliff-chat, Abyssinian wheatear, Northern Anteater, pied wheatear and the spotted flycatcher.
Weavers in Lake Nakuru National Park include the spectacled weaver, Speke’s weave, Baglafecht weaver and the Lesser Masked weaver.
Pipits and wagtails species include the long-billed pipit, African pied wagtail, yellow-throated longclaw, mountain wagtail, red-throated pipit, western yellow wagtail, long-billed pipit, plain backed pipit and the white wagtail.
Waxbills and Allies include the red checked cordonbleu, common waxbill, yellow-bellied waxbill, red-billed fire finch, black and white manikin and the crimson rumped waxbill.
Swallows in Lake Nakuru national park include the Gray rumped swallow, wire-tailed swallow, bank swallow, common house martin, wire-tailed swallow, Rock martin, Mosque swallow, banded swallow and the Black sawing.
Best time to go for birding in Lake Nakuru National park
Birding in Lake Nakuru national park can be carried out all year round at any time of the day but the best time is immediately after the rains because that is when most of the bird species can easily be spotted. Birding is best done in the morning hours which is from 6:00 am to 11:00 am because this is the time when many of the birds are out hunting for food. You can also go birding in the evening hours as the birds retire for the day. The best months for you to go birding in Lake Nakuru National park is from November to April.